Dear Family and Friends,
Happy Tuesday P-Day! We had trainer-trainee follow up yesterday, a big meeting halfway through training where all the trainers and their new companies get together.
To start up, I’d like to randomly give a follow-up answer to one of the questions my mom asked me last week, about what kind of service we do. I just remembered that when I was in Yuli we would feed the Singletaries’ dogs a lot. That was always fun so I think it’s worth bringing up.
It’s wonderful, as always, to hear from everyone! Especially Dad who will sometimes tell me what happened in his mission in his emails. I feel like the attitudes he had and the things he experienced are often similar to what I am going through.
Updates on Investigators
We finished teaching Zhang Qi Fang the commandments this week. Little does she know that she could actually get baptized whenever she wants, but she is still working past her own fears and doubts. This coming week we are planning on reading the scriptures with her to build her faith and understanding. She needs some good ol’ prayers from all of you back home!
And then we have been trying really hard to help Sister Xu to keep the commitments we extend to her. We have been trying to be bold in telling her that she has to keep commitments to receive blessings. She is so grateful for the friendship we have extended to her. Actually, we got to help her out one night as she was telling us all of her worries about her boyfriend and other worldly matters. Of course, neither me or Sister Huang have ever actually had boyfriends, nor are we in a position to really counsel her on those matters, so we just told her that if she keeps commitments then she will know what to do. She was so grateful to us that she fed us lunch on Saturday afternoon, but then she still didn’t come to church on Sunday because she planned an activity to do with her kids. She still hasn’t read any of the scriptures we assigned her. She really likes little stories and things that make her feel good, but we still need to see whether she will ever actually understand that true blessings require true sacrifice.
We got a new investigator this week named Huang fang fang, who is a 60+ year old grandma. We were doing companion study in a 7/11 and we started talking to her. And boy does this lady sure love to talk! She told us this kinda sad story about how she can’t have kids and was abused by a husband who she later divorced. And after she got divorced, she was a cleaning lady. One day, she connected with one of her old boyfriends on Facebook and he let her move in with his family (because he was also divorced) so she could clean their house and stuff. After she told us all of these problems, I had the impression to share with her Mosiah 2:17 and thanked her for all of the sacrifices she’s made for others in her life. She was really grateful and took the Book of Mormon and we set up a time to meet with her the next day.
So we went there the next day with a member and the first thing Huang fang fang tried to do was give me back the Book of Mormon because of some basic excuses like “I don’t have time, my eyesight is bad, etc….” And apparently I looked REALLY sad about it because both her and the member started trying to comfort me, telling us how she wasn’t rejecting our message, she just couldn’t read the book. But we went on and shared the first part of the first lesson anyways and she was SO touched by the doctrine (plus my being devastated that she wouldn’t want to read) that she took the book back! And said “Ok, ok, I’ll read it, I’ll read it every day! I’ll even bring my little sister and her family to church!”
We also got this new investigator who the Zone Leaders found and then gave to us. But we haven’t been able to really get in contact with her since she’s part of this other evangelical church that speaks in tongues so they don’t understand their own prayers. This other church also has a missionary program where they take investigators to LIVE in the church with them for a few days. It sounds really creepy to us, especially since this church seems to pull people away from their families instead of drawing them together.
After the trainer-trainee meeting, President Jergensen asked me to stay at the mission office for an interview, and little did I know, but I REALLY needed that interview! The past few weeks I have felt really inadequate with training and with this area, and have felt really lonely sometimes. But President told me in the interview that he thought I was doing a really good job, and it gave me SO much peace and comfort to realize that I’ve been harder on myself than I needed to be. I’ll share a secret: as a missionary, it’s really easy for me to compare myself needlessly to other missionaries (even though I know I shouldn’t.) The standards we use to compare each other are often influenced by so many unfair factors. I’m truly learning that the only correct standards we can use to judge others (and ourselves) with is God’s standard. I am SO thankful that we have God’s standard, or else the world would truly be a mess.
So now I am really hopeful for the next few weeks, my last transfer in Banqiao.
- Now that it is fall, Christmas is in the air. Any wants or needs for Christmas?
What a great question! I was just about to ask you, you can maybe send the package out in a couple weeks. Since I’m going home soon I don’t really have a ton of needs, but a couple Christmas gifts might be nice. Like Jalapeno Cheetos. And handwritten letters from people. Taiwan has all the chocolate I could ever want so don’t worry about that.
- Is it still hot in Taiwan?
It’s cooled down SO much, it has been the nicest thing ever. At the beginning of the week it was sprinkling rain a lot, which was annoying because it was too little to wear a rain coat but enough to get us a little damp. But after the clouds cleared up, Taipei has enjoyed really cool, fresh breezes. It’s even been cool enough to wear a sweater without actually sweating to death! It’s actually kind of weird for it to be colder–we have been melting in the heat for months so I am not used to the cold anymore. I forgot Taiwan even had this kind of weather! Most of the time it’s either pouring rain like a flood or like stepping directly into a furnace.
- Do you use your bike every day or do you use other modes of transport sometimes?
It’s really hard to serve in Taiwan without a bike–they’re basically indispensable, but especially in Taipei there’s other ways to get around, such as taking the MRT or the bus.
- How often do bikes get stolen?
I would say a good 10-20ish missionary bikes get stolen a year. It’s pretty easy for the police to get them back since Taiwan has a police camera on literally every street corner.
- Which area in your mission is the most prized? I mean, which one do most missionaries wish they could serve in?
It mostly depends on the missionary. I know that everyone loves Taoyuan–it’s called the “Qingdom” because everyone gives you a lot of food there. And then everyone wants to go to Taidong or Hualian because it’s really pretty. I really want to go to Beitou, a place in North zone that has lots of hills, mostly because I went on a few exchanges there and we saw a lot of miracles. I feel like most missionaries’ opinions on other areas all depends on where their companions have served, and what their companions told them about their former areas. I feel like the principle “the grass is always greener on the other side” works really well here.
- What is your mission president and his wife really like? Tell us some cool stuff about them.
They’re super cool! President and Sister Jergensen are from Utah. I don’t really know too much about their personal lives, but they did have a daughter come and get married at the Taipei temple a few months ago. Sister Jergensen likes to study the scriptures.
And that’s about it for this week!
Sister Anne Watson